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Our Founding Fathers understood frugality. Thomas Jefferson said “I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple, applying all the possible savings of the public revenue to the discharge of the national debt; and not for a multiplication of officers and salaries merely to make partisans.” Benjamin Franklin warned “Think what you do when you run in debt; you give another power over your liberty.” One thing they’d both agree on for sure is that freedom isn’t free.
For most Americans, Memorial Day is a chance to sleep in and get the day off of work or school. If you have children, it’s a terrific opportunity to teach them about our country, respect, honor, reverence, history, and more.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day set aside for remembrance of those who have died in our nation’s service. Memorial Day was first proclaimed on 5 May 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. The South, at first, refused to acknowledge Memorial Day, honoring their dead on separate days until after WWI. It is now observed in almost every state of the union on the last Monday of every May. Since the Civil War more than 1.1 million veterans, both women and men, have lost their lives in military service to America.
With four sons in my family, we’ve created a fun tradition with our Scouts where we place flags on the tombstones of fallen soldiers and then we present a special wreath at the cemetery’s ceremony on Memorial Day. The boys really get a kick out of reading the tombstones and imagining what the soldiers would have looked like. The parents go crazy with their cameras, taking incredibly patriotic photos of their own sons in uniform paying respect.
Memorial Day reminds us of our duties towards the wounded soldiers and the bereaved families, orphans and widows of the fallen soldiers. In addition to the fun BBQ’s and recreational activities of the weekend, we should take a few minutes to show our gratitude to those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Here are a few ways you can honor their memory this year and do so inexpensively:
- Placing flags, garlands or flowers on the grave sites
- Visiting cemeteries and memorials
- Knitting beanies for soldiers in Afghanistan. Learn how at: http://www.ehow.com/how_5812910_knit-easy-hat-troops-afghanistan.html
- Furling the American Flag at half-mast until noon
- Furling the ‘POW/MIA Flag’
- Hanging yellow ribbons. See wp.yellowribbonamerica.org
- Keeping silence for a minute at 3 p.m., ‘National Moment of Remembrance’ and listening to Taps being played
- Sending your expired coupons to military overseas. For details go to: http://thekrazycouponlady.com/coupons-for-military/
- Taking a pledge to aid the disabled veterans, widows, widowers and orphans of the dead and keeping it
- Offering thanks to the veterans and appreciating the ultimate sacrifices of the soldiers to the bereaved families personally
- Decorating your car with patriotic ribbons
- Donating blood
- Helping to decorate a float for a community parade
- Visiting a nursing/retirement home and inviting veterans to share their stories
- Encouraging your children’s school to put together a patriotic program
- Organizing a Memorial Day event at your church where you honor veterans with musical numbers and skits
- Writing letters to soldiers at www.anysoldier.com
- Reading the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or Bill of Rights
- Memorizing the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner”
- Donating your frequent flyer miles to a veteran who is undergoing treatment at a VA medical center. To learn how, go to: http://www.ehow.com/how_5733213_donate-frequent-flier-miles-veterans.html
Free Memorial Day quotes, poems, songs, tributes, reflections, presidential declarations and facts: http://www.thememorialdaytribute.com/observe-memorial-day.html
Free Memorial Day essays, speeches, and prayers: http://www.usmemorialday.org/write.html
Free Memorial Day clip art images: http://www.designedtoat.com/memorial_day.shtml
Free Memorial Day coloring pages: http://fun.familyeducation.com/memorial-day/holidays/33548.html
Free patriotic craft projects: http://www.allcrafts.net/patriotic.htm
Free Memorial Day screensavers and computer wallpapers: http://www.screene.com/free-screensavers/holidays-screensavers/memorialday/
Current soldiers and veterans deserve the very best benefits this country can offer! If you’re currently in the military or are a spouse or dependent of a wonderful soldier, there are some helpful resources for you out there:
If you’re a civilian who would like to get more involved to show your gratitude in deed, check out some of these terrific service organizations to benefit our brave warriors:
- The above list is just a small sample of ideas. Military families struggle financially while their solider is away protecting our country’s interests. Check out the following web site that offers a huge list of service opportunities that support our military: http://www.military.com/spouse/military-life/military-resources/how-to-support-our-troops.html
Veterans can enjoy all kinds of free meals and merchandise on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and sometimes on other patriotic holidays when they show their military ID. Thank you for your service! You deserve a nice, free meal! Here are a few places that are great about honoring our wonderful vets with freebies:
- Free admission to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California
- Southwest Airlines – Receive one-way tickets as low as $51 for military personnel and their family members! You have to call the customer service hotline to request the special discount.
- Hidden Valley Ski Area – Military and their family receive $5 lift tickets if there is still snow!
- Clarion Hotels – Free breakfast buffet and $59/night rooms.
- Princess Cruises – Free onboard credit when you submit proof of military service before you sail.
- National Park in Alaska – free entrance
- General Motors – special discounts
- BJ’s Brewhouse
- Bar Louie
- Olive Garden
- Free Car Wash
- Free Canes
- Outback Steakhouse
- Golden Corral
- Famous Dave’s
- Bailey’s Sports Grille
- McCormick & Schmick’s
- Free Park admission: www.herosalute.com/states/index.html
- Texas Roadhouse:
And finally, saving lots of “George Washington’s” is very patriotic! Many stores hold huge Memorial Day sales, so this weekend is a good time to pick up some discounted items. For a listing of stores in your area holding special holiday sales, go to:
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
Trina Boice (the “fru”gal)